Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging
Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

3.2 Making reasonable adjustments: making time

A person with learning disabilities who reviewed this session said that in his experience, workplaces aren’t always very supportive if you need to work at a slower pace. In the next activity, you will learn how an organisation changed its ways of working to make the workplace more inclusive.

Activity 3 An inclusive work environment

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Ajay Choksi has been employed by the Rix Centre at the University of East London as a technical assistant for a number of years. Watch this video of Ajay and his colleagues talking about his work at the University. The first half of the film is focused on what Ajay does at work. The second half of the film focuses on the role of his employer.

This film and its captions were produced by Ajay Choksi. We would like to thank Ajay and the team for making this film for the course.

After you have watched the film, complete the table below. Try to think of at least three points under each column.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 4
Skip transcript: Video 4

Transcript: Video 4

[MUSIC PLAYING]
ANDY MINNION
About how it all began?
AJAY CHOKSI
I started in the RIX Centre, year 2007.
ANDY MINNION
That's great. And when you look back on that, it seems like a long way away, or what?
AJAY CHOKSI
Well, it has been since 12 years now.
ANDY MINNION
Brilliant.
AJAY CHOKSI
Yeah.
ANDY MINNION
12 long years.
AJAY CHOKSI
12.
ANDY MINNION
Yeah, yeah. OK. What's your role?
AJAY CHOKSI
I am a technical assistant. In fact, my character role is Wiki--
[MAGICAL FLOURISH]
--Master.
ANDY MINNION
What's that, then?
AJAY CHOKSI
Well, it's simple. When you grab some of your hand, and when you see the thumb--
ANDY MINNION
Oh, I see.
AJAY CHOKSI
Get that to connect to your thumb. If you show your sign, the W is the Wiki. If you go down, it's Master. Together, Wiki Master.
ANDY MINNION
And what's a wiki?
AJAY CHOKSI
A wiki is a simple, easy website to build.
ANDY MINNION
Oh, I see. Yeah, yeah. Great. What sort of work do you do, then? What are the, kind of, key aspects of work?
AJAY CHOKSI
My key aspects of work, which is building wiki websites--
ANDY MINNION
Uh huh.
AJAY CHOKSI
--international and national events, workshops and lectures, supporting students to use multimedia tools.
ANDY MINNION
All right. And which of those do you think you like best, and why?
AJAY CHOKSI
I like the RIX. I like the technology stuff to use. I like chatting with my colleagues, going out on our lunches, helping to teach with other students. And I'm more inspired telling about my story.
ANDY MINNION
That's brilliant. Yeah, yeah. That student stuff, what do you support them to do?
AJAY CHOKSI
I teach with the students, making more help with using technology, using multimedia tools.
ANDY MINNION
Perfect. We were very proud of you, weren't we, when you did that new workshop with United Response?
AJAY CHOKSI
Oh. Oh, yes.
ANDY MINNION
How did that feel, teaching by yourself? Could you tell us about that?
AJAY CHOKSI
OK. When I came along, travelling by myself, went to the United Response. I gave a workshop with a face-to-face delivery, a teaching lecture. And I explained about how to use your wiki, sharing wiki, and inspired telling other people's story.
ANDY MINNION
That's impressive. And how did that make you feel?
AJAY CHOKSI
I feel very excited, good, and proud of myself. What impression did you have for my training at United Response?
SARAH FROST
Well, Ajay, when I walked into our Teddington enterprise hub, I immediately saw that you were totally in control, were very relaxed and very confident in an incredibly busy environment. And I was just so impressed that the environment felt inclusive and that you felt so relaxed in that environment. So it was really a mix of people filling very different roles just working together harmoniously.
ANDY MINNION
Inclusion, in other words.
SARAH FROST
It's inclusion. It's inclusion. And that's how it should be.
AJAY CHOKSI
What factors have helped to make my experience of paid work so positive?
ANDY MINNION
Well, I think there are two factors. I think one's teamwork because you're very much part of the team and built your own working relationships with everybody in the team. But I think the second part is that we recognise that we really needed to think about how we did the inclusive work space. You know?
So that meant that the wider team worked together and often discussed with each other how we could include you better in the different aspects of the work we did, like in meetings, in workshops, and in discussions about strategy and things like that, thinking of what approaches to use that could really involve you and make sure you weren't just in the room.
I think the key point about giving you support is making sure that we make the time to work with you, to prepare for meetings or events or presentations, et cetera, but also to reflect afterwards with you so that we make sure that you're learning and developing as you go.
How has it changed over time? Well, you've become more and more professional. You've taken more and more initiative. You've been able to work more independently as time's gone on. And you've become more confident about making presentations and much more blended into the team as time has gone on.
I think the key challenge has been that we needed to find more time and give more time to explaining things, to unpacking things, and allow things to unfold in meetings and discussions in workshops at a pace that kept you with us rather than leaving you behind.
How do we resolve that challenge? Well, I think, as a workplace, we shifted the pace of how we did things. We became more thoughtful and reflective. We did things like-- we drew diagrams more. We made sure that we were a bit simpler in our use of language and jargon and things like that.
All of those, I think, are good things. And they're all things that all of our work team benefited from. It's made us a better place to work. Looking ahead, what sort of picture do you have of your future with RIX, Ajay?
AJAY CHOKSI
In my head, imagination of the future with RIX are research skills, video production, and the last one is a leadership training workshop for now. So that is my imagination in my brain in the RIX future.
ANDY MINNION
Well, good luck.
AJAY CHOKSI
Thank you.
[MUSIC PLAYING]
End transcript: Video 4
Video 4
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Table 1 Ajay’s experience of work

What is good about Ajay’s work?How have Ajay’s colleagues at the Rix Centre supported him at work?
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Words: 0
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Answer

Table 1 Ajay’s experience of work (completed)

What is good about Ajay’s work?How have Ajay’s colleagues at the Rix Centre supported him at work?
Ajay’s job gives him opportunities to socialise with his colleaguesAjay’s colleagues make time to prepare him for certain tasks, like presentations and meetings
Ajay’s job is varied and interestingThey make time to reflect on what is working well for Ajay, and what can be improved
Ajay has progressed in the job and is doing new things and taking on more responsibility They use more visual aids, like diagrams, to enable Ajay to be included
Ajay has become more independent at workThey use simpler language
Ajay has good relationships with his colleaguesThey encourage and support Ajay to think about his future plans at work

What may have struck you most about this film is that Ajay appears to be a genuine member of the team. His colleagues adapted their working practices to help achieve this. Taking more time both to prepare and to reflect is not always easy for busy organisations struggling to meet deadlines or with pressures to deliver services or goods. But in this film, Andy Minnion suggests that making the changes needed to create an inclusive workplace can have benefits for everyone.

LD_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371